BY PAUL SILAS
It was yet another tale of deaths and destruction early Saturday as a petroleum product-laden tanker fell on Kara Bridge, on the border between Lagos and Ogun States, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, spilling its content which led to an inferno.
The tanker driver and his motor-boy reportedly died instantly in the lone accident while no fewer than 35 vehicles of different makes got burnt.
Spokesperson of Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), Babatunde Akinbiyi, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.
Akinbiyi explained that the accident occurred early Saturday morning, saying that over 35 vehicles including those parked on the highway were burnt down.
“Our men are still on a rescue mission, the tanker was loaded with diesel, maybe the driver was on excessive speeding or sleeping while driving, along the line, the tanker fell on his side and it started spilling its content.
“About 35 vehicles were burnt particularly those parked by the sides of the road, the driver and the motor boy died. We cannot say anything about other casualties now, I will keep you posted,” he said.
Akinbiyi noted that the deceased had been deposited at the morgue of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu.
He advised motorists to avoid the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway presently and seek alternative routes because of the heavy gridlock the accident had caused.
Tanker related accidents are common along Kara Bridge. On July 17, two trucks and a fully-loaded fuel tanker were in collision, resulting in major gridlock for commuters.
At least one person was confirmed dead on June 21, after a petrol tanker, a gas truck, and a cement transport truck collided on the bridge.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr Femi Oke-Osanyintiolu, said personnel of the agency who responded to the accident was attacked by persons suspected to be herders.
He said, “The joint team (Lagos Fire and LASEMA) was waylaid on arrival by a group of herders believed to be Fulani boys brandishing dangerous weapons and was forced to seek extra police cover from the Isheri Police Station.
“The operation commenced with police protection until the group of assailants grew larger and caused significant damage to vehicles and threat to the lives of our personnel.”
Oke-Osanyintiolu released the following post-disaster assessment to include: Two fatalities (driver of tanker and motor boy), 10 casualties who received on the spot treatment, 23 vehicles affected including one tanker containing the 45,000 litres of petrol, one luxurious passenger bus, two articulated vehicles and 19 cars.